Can Depp and His Salty Crew Make The Rock and the Baywatch Babes Walk the Plank This Memorial Day Holiday? This Coming Weekend at the Boxoffice

By Jim Amos | May 21, 2017 6:34 pm PDT
Pirates of the Caribbean Dead Men Tell No Tales & Baywatch posters

There’s star power galore coming to a multiplex near you this Memorial Day weekend with stars such as Johnny Depp, Dwayne Johnson, Javier Bardem and Zac Efron, to name but a few. “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales” and “Baywatch” try to lure moviegoers away from their barbeques for some mindless fun over the Memorial Day holiday here in America. But before we get to those festivities let’s take a peek at what happened this past weekend.

Well that was certainly was a lot closer than expected, wasn’t it?  Here’s the good news…“Alien: Covenant” won the weekend.  Yay, let the celebration begin! Oh wait, here’s the bad…its’ USD $36 million was only a trifle higher than the third week of “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2”, which came in at USD $35 mil and change.  

After a fairly strong Friday, AC kept taking steps in the wrong direction as the weekend progressed, which admittedly is not unusual for a sequel or in this case a prequel, and the film’s B Cinemascore didn’t help either.  Fox’s sci-fi adventure had trouble expanding its audience past fans of the Alien franchise, which certainly does not bode well for the long term prospects of the movie, even with the lucrative three day Memorial Day weekend approaching here in the States and a Rotten Tomatoes score of 73.

Fox’s other title of the weekend, “Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul”, wasn’t anything to write home about either for the studio. The franchise comes (mercifully) to a conclusion with USD $7 million, off a Cinemascore of B which is a low for the series and a Rotten Tomatoes score of (gulp) 19.

On a positive note, Warners was able to reach the fickle YA audience with their “Everything, Everything”, to the tune of USD $12 million.  Audience reactions were generally positive as the film earned an A- Cinemascore.  It’s so difficult to predict that audience but kudos to the folks in Burbank for, at least for a week, finding the secret sauce.

Now, everyone out of the way, the big boys are coming through.

“Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales” (BV)—Ready for your morning’s dose of sacrilege? No matter what “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales” grosses in North America this weekend it just doesn’t matter. Say what? Back the truck up! Shut the front door! Well, if you’re looking for a stunning example of how the international market is far outpacing the domestic market these days then this franchise is for you. The first film in this series garnered 46% of its worldwide take from North America. Not bad. That number fell to 39% in “Dead Man’s Chest”, then down to 32% for “At World’s End”. OK, going in the wrong direction. But it further plummeted to 23% for the last outing, “Stranger Tides”. Insert can’t-believe-it look here.  

It’s almost pointless to get all worked up about what the film is going to do here in this little corner of the boxoffice world, other than to say it will undoubtedly rise to the top of the charts Stateside this Memorial Day weekend (then again we said the same thing last weekend about Alien so don’t head to Ladbrokes after you finish reading this.) What you can bank on is the film reaping boxoffice booty everywhere elsewhere in the world. Here’s a look at how the previous four POTC have fared in case you think I’m spewing Alternative Facts…

POTC: AT WORLD’S END 2007 $114 MIL $309 MIL $654 MIL
POTC: DEAD MAN’S CHEST 2006 $135 MIL $423 MIL $642 MIL

The Verdict:  Long weekends at the boxoffice are all about mindless fun and this certainly fits that mold. Depp has been doing a lot of press lately for the movie, even showing up at the POTC ride at Disneyland in full Jack Sparrow garb. Some family from Muskogee is still trying to convince their neighbors that that was the real Johnny Depp. “Honest to God, Cletus, it was him!” 4 day gross of USD $76 million.

“Baywatch” (Paramount)—And speaking of mindless fun. Well, mindless at least. After years of trying to bring the small screen classic (ha, can’t believe I just typed the word “classic”!) to the big screen, Dwayne Johnson and Zac Efron dare to go where no man has gone before. The studio hasn’t made the film available for critics yet (yes way) but exhibitor reaction was well summed up by one buyer who told me last week, “I never thought I’d fall asleep in a film that featured 119 minutes of nothing but women in swimsuits but they somehow pulled it off”. OK, “Baywatch” was never going to throw the BAFTA Best Picture race into disarray but is something slightly above an elongated Benny Hill sketch too much to ask?

The Verdict:  It’s difficult to go wrong with summer comedies (unless you’re Amy Schumer and Goldie Hawn) and there should be enough in this to, ahem, satisfy the male demographic and director Seth Gordon knows his way around comedies with “Horrible Bosses”, “Four Christmases” and “Identity Thief”. That should all add up to a USD $100 million film.  4 day gross of USD $48 million.


Broad Green has “Buena Vista Social Club: Adios” and Evan Saxon and the gang at Spell Check’s favorite studio, Abramorama, invite you to take a “trip” with “The Untold Story of the Grateful Dead: Long Strange Trip”. Hopefully theatres are well stocked at the concession stand for the latter film.

Jim Amos
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